Business Practices in France

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The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
The principles appreciated in business are: courtesy, formal relations, mutual confidence and respect.
It can be useful to set up a network of business acquaintances.
First Contact
Make an appointment at least two weeks ahead of time. Avoid July and August which are periods when people often take their holidays.
If necessary, let them know if something comes up.
Shake hands with the person you are meeting and greet her/him by putting Madame or Monsieur before their name.
How to Present Yourself
Begin introducing yourself by saying « Enchanté », then give your first name and your surname.
Business Relations
Avoid being overly friendly with the person you are meeting. The French tend to keep their professional life separate from their private life.
In business, exchanging gifts is rare except at Christmas and New Year when it is customary to give chocolates, wine, books, etc.
Business Communication
Be patient as negotiations can take a long time and you may have to wait for decisions to be made.
Avoid confrontations or pressure tactics, but do not hesitate to debate and defend your point of view. A very precise written contract will make the agreement official.
Dress Code
Discreet and stylish, rather conservative for the first meeting, then adapted according to the appointment.
Men wear classic, dark suits.
Women wear plain suits.
Visiting Cards
Visiting cards are exchanged at the beginning or at the end of the first meeting, without any particular formality.
A translation in French on the back of the card would be a plus.
For Further Information
Doing business In France
French culture, customs and etiquette
Guide to France

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